Saturday, May 03, 2008

An External Flame, To My Leg!

So I finished lunch at a local stainless steel tabled eatery and got my change.  It's a very popular spot that draws crowds, which in turns draws the destitute and damaged who are looking for some financial assistance.  

One thing that is different between Hanoi and Saigon, as I've noted in past posts, is that there are more panhandlers on the street here, by a few orders of magnitude by my reckoning.  I would hazard the reasons range from the fact that Saigon is at least twice the size of Hanoi, to more persistent central government efforts to sweep away the issue in the capitol city, to the climate in Saigon, which allows for outdoor living year round (as long as you have a poncho).  

These days I give to panhandlers more than I did while living in Hanoi, probably because I walk around much more and see many more people.  

Anyhow, back to today.  I got my change and headed to the old woman who had been loitering outside the restaurant for most of my meal.  She was on the street, and I on the sidewalk, separated by a row of parked motorbikes, which, being Vietnam, were naturally also on the sidewalk.  I squeezed into a crevice between two parked bikes to reach the woman and was about to hand over my change when I yelped like a Pomeranian.

Gosh darn it, I burned myself on a bike.  And I don't even ride a bike!  That fateful bike's exhaust had one of those heat dissipating covers to the exposed muffler that I burned my leg on.  I guess they don't work too well.  

After making myself feel better by donating some money, I walked off cursing and wincing every few steps.  I'm sure that provided a modicum of entertainment to the midday lunch crowd.  

The picture shows that the burn isn't very bad, or perhaps it hasn't shown its true effects yet, as it was snapped moments after the above incident.  As you can tell from the leg hairs, I'm not a typical motobike burn victim in Vietnam; they tend to shave their legs and wear skirts.  If you look hard enough, you'll see a bunch of women walking around town with welts or scars strategically placed on their calves.

It hurt enough that I went looking for some medical care.  A tip for all travelers - if you don't know where something is, and you're not too confident with asking the random taxi driver hanging around looking for a fare, head to any big hotel.  With the accident occurring in District 1, I went into the next hotel that I saw and asked the front desk for directions to the closest pharmacy.

The pharmacist was nicer than expected when she suggested the essentials to treat my mild burn.  Perhaps she's had occasion to meet up with a muffler or two.  The burn cream, "Made With Assurance in India," and bandages cost a little less than $2 USD.  Offsets the pain just a little bit.        

1 comment:

SaigonNezumi (Kevin) said...

You and Will both burn your legs on mufflers. You know, I did not even know you could burn your legs on mufflers until you two guys moved to
Saigon :-)